Denis Johnson

Denis Johnson
Denis Johnson 1949-2017

Friday, July 22, 2011

The wednesday poem on friday

On the M104
(New York City Public Bus)

    The longing we know that does not have a name
    may be for our lost twins, our cellular siblings
    who flaked away from us
    only days after our conception.
    Like a singular petal tugged from its floribunda,
    most of us were left alone in our planet-wombs,
    gravity-less balloons, loose space suits. Galaxies of mother
    around us, we slept the way I still like to:
    my back nestled against someone else's chest,
    my knees bent and at rest on his
    as though I were sitting in a chair
    but my weight askew, pulled away to a 90-degree angle.
    No wonder, regardless of who it is,
    love is what I feel every time.
    He is my lost one, my lost twin,
    the dolphin, the underwater uterine-angel
    who loved me regardless, who continued
    to swim up against me, whether I pulled away or not.
    I miss him the way a soldier
    has a phantom itch on the elbow
    of his amputated arm. I look into mirrors
    and dress up as someone else.
    Our lost Gods are so hard to find
    though they are as many
    as the flakes of novelty confetti
    that snow from a bridal shower bell.
    Or the pastel dots
    that rise to the roof and multiply
    on this city bus
    as the sun hits a stone
    on some piece of jewelry a passenger is wearing.
    The magic blinks away as we turn the corner
    and a building's shadow takes over.
    We all check our watches
    and bracelets, wondering which one of us
    could have been the source
    of such beauty. The travelers who saw
    look at each other to confirm.
    Our lost Gods, so hard to find --
    their appearances so short, their bodies so small.

Denise Duhamel

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